Since the beginning of 2020, officers have responded to over 25 reports of thefts of catalytic converters from vehicles in Apple Valley. Agencies across the metro have also reported in increase in these thefts and there appear to be several groups of thieves perpetrating these crimes, according to the Apple Valley Police Department.
Nine thefts since the beginning of October have been reported to the Apple Valley Police Department, of these, six have been thefts of catalytic converters from Toyota Priuses. It appears that Toyota and Honda vehicles are preferred.
Catalytic converters are made of precious metals and can be sold to dealers for up to $250 each. They have no serial numbers so they are virtually untraceable and are easy to remove from vehicles which make them desirable to thieves.
The perpetrators, usually working in groups of two to three people, will typically pull up next to the target vehicle, jack it up a bit to make it easier to slide under and access the part, then cut the catalytic converter with a power tool. The whole process only takes a few minutes to complete. The thefts have been reported as occurring during daytime and overnight hours, the department said.
The department said residents should take precautions to protect their vehicles including watching for suspicious activity around parked vehicles and listening for the sound of grinding metal.
Residents who notice people acting suspiciously should call 911 right away. Note a physical description of the suspicious people and vehicle they are driving and report that to the dispatcher. Be available for further follow up from an officer should they need to contact you after responding to the theft, police said. The department added that owners of Hondas and Toyotas should park their vehicles inside overnight, if possible, to reduce access to them when they’re not being used.